We had a feeling didn’t we? Mariners fans have been down this road before. Underdog magical seasons in 2007, 2009, 2014, and 2016 that defied odds, analytics, and our minds, before falling just short of playoff baseball. The following year? Disappointed, failure, embarrassment, Milton Bradley.
The 2021 Mariners followed the same hopeful script we’d seen before, but would the sequel continue to be what we have come to dread?
This is the Seattle Mariners 2022 season, if we hit the Floor.
The Mariners had so much hope going into the 2022 season, but that was quickly put on life alert after a terrible April and May found themselves at 25-34. Robbie Ray was good, but not the man we saw in Toronto. Winker was a beast and kept Seattle in most of their games while Suarez and Haniger came out of the gates ice cold. The kids, on the pitching staff and the lineup, looked like the pressure was getting to them, and the bullpen proved once again to be tough to gauge from year to year.
When all seemed lost, much like last May, the Mariners woke up and began to climb back. Not towards a playoff spot, but towards respectability. The playoff dream disappeared by Father’s Day, after the hot starts by not only the top AL East teams and Houston, but the scalding hot starts by the LA Angels and Texas Rangers. Turns out, a healthy Verlander, Trout, Ohtani, Seager, and Semien makes for some tough competition in the AL West
By the dog days of summer, the Angels began to fade and the postseason was looking locked up by the all-star game. Winker and Ray were Seattle’s all-stars in LA. Winker actually participated in the home run derby but lost in the 2nd round to eventual champion Shohei Ohtani.
A nice little 7-1 spurt after the all-star break would get the Mariners back to .500, but it couldn’t keep the Mariners from selling pieces that may not stick around. Castillo and Flexen were traded to the suddenly surging Kansas City Royals and Detroit Tigers, while Dipoto broke Mariners fan’s hearts by trading Mitch Haniger to the Atlanta Braves. All the deals brought back Seattle good prospects, but we didn’t want to hear.
For the final two months of the season, the Mariners continued their middling season, finishing at 82-80, but 8 games out of the final Wild Card spot, and didn’t really even feel that close.
There were great moments for sure. Ray’s no-hitter in late September to cap off a five-game winning streak. Julio hitting grand slams on back-to-back nights. Jesse Winker finishing the year with 39 home runs.
At the end of the day, Seattle may have actually been a better team than in 2021. Their run differential was only -5 this year, they just lacked the magic. Winker was a star, Julio looks like there’s real potential, but we never saw any of our prospects take the season by the horns. After year two, we have more questions than answers with Jared Kelenic. Gilbert, Kirby, and Brash look more like back-end starters than at the front of the rotation.
This off-season will…again…be the biggest in franchise history. They need a true ace, a revamped bullpen, and two major bats since we can’t trust most of our prospects…again.
That will be even tougher, now that the AL elite appears to be joined by the young and up incoming threats in Detroit and KC.
When looking back on the 2022 Seattle Mariners, I don’t believe it to be the same horrific disappointment we’ve seen in the past, but rather a fun season that never really had a chance to be great. We still have hope for the Mariners breaking the curse in 2023, but that dream feels a little farther away than it did yesterday.